Inside Medvedev and Rublev’s rivalry that involved eating clay and crying

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Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev face off in the quarter-finals of the US Open on Wednesday, as the pair reignite a rivalry that goes back to their junior days playing against each other. The two Russian stars have gone on to compete on the biggest stages in the world, as their competitive side has come out on numerous occasions.

Medvedev and Rublev are close friends and often used to meet as child tennis stars, before New York sets the stage for their eighth professional meeting – the previous seven saw Medvedev come out on top five times with Rublev winning twice.

Fireworks could well take place at Flushing Meadows, though whether they are similar to previous scenes remains to be seen. Altercations in the past have seen Medvedev claim that Rublev has eaten part of their clay court, while also making him cry during matches.

“We’re both nuts,” the world No 3 told News Au during the 2021 Australian Open. “We played lobs. Each rally was 10 minutes. We kept pushing those lobs to exhaustion. One of us would screw up the lob and there would be three minutes of crying and racket throwing.”

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Rublev was asked to clarify accusations of him eating the clay, when asked by the New York Times whether he really did eat red clay from the court, Rublev admitted: “I never ate it full, but, yes, I put it in my mouth. I just spat it away or took water to clean my mouth. I did some stupid things, for sure.”

Since those days, the duo have gone on to become close friends and Medvedev has already named Wednesday’s opponent as the godfather to his daughter. The 2021 US Open champion and his wife Daria welcomed their first child last October, with Rublev being named as Alisa’s godfather during her christening.

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When asked if it was an easy decision, Medvedev opened up on his relationship with Rublev, as they clearly have come a long way from crying and fighting on the court. “To be honest, yes, because as I say, we’re really close,” the 2021 champion said when asked if it was an easy decision. “I don’t like to, let’s say, label ‘best friend’ because I would say I have a lot of best friends, I have a lot of good friends.

“But we are very close. He’s very kind. He’s kind of a little bit into – how we can call it – he’s religious, so that’s important to be a godfather. So it was kind of an easy decision, yeah.”

I think we’re really close friends. I think we have great relationship. Even if on the court we’re big competitors, so I do think one match, I say a fight, we can talk or something like this, I think nothing is going to, let’s call it, come between us to separate us in real life.

“We’re really close. I mean, we share a lot of let’s call it interests and stuff like this. It’s great to have someone like this on tour because sometimes can be not easy. You travel, travel, travel. To have a friend like this is great. Not much more to add. But again, on the court we both want to win.”

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US Open tennis makes its long-awaited return to Sky Sports and it’s certainly not something to be missed.

Sky Sports subscribers on Sky Glass, Sky Stream, Sky Q, and the Sky Sports app will be able to watch all courts for the first time on Sky Sports.

Want to watch the US Open Tennis but don’t own Sky?

Never fear as you can get Sky Glass, Sky TV, Netflix for £14 a month for six months – thanks to a limited time deal.

You can also get six months Sky Sports completely free.

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